Torchlight Ceremony
Saturday Evening

The impressive Torchlight ceremony is carried out in near darkness except for the torches, and the processional and recessional are silent. It also carries some risk. For that reason, students on crutches, in high heels, or who apparently are unable to walk safely down the hill will be asked to join the class at the lake. Do not swing or wave the torches, as sparks could ignite someone's hair or robe. Stay a reasonable distance away from others. Do not rush down the hill.

Students are required to wear gowns and should assemble on the Quad in the area in front of the west wing of Lathrop Hall promptly at 9:00 pm. The area will be marked and marshals will be present to direct you. In view of the brevity of what is to follow, no seating will be provided. President Chopp will light the torch fire and students will be escorted in a double column to the bins of torches where you will be given your torch. Junior Marshals will assist you in organizing the columns and will lead each column to the torch fire. Light your torch as you pass the fire, then proceed in a double column down the hill, between Lathrop and Lawrence. Traffic on Alumni Road will be halted until all students have crossed. The class continues down the hill past the Library and Student Union and across College Street to Taylor Lake. One column is then directed along The Willow Path and the other along the Pine Path, until they meet on the Broad Street side of the lake. When the class completely rings the lake, remain in your position during the singing of both verses and both choruses of the Alma Mater. At the close of the Alma Mater, the torches are carried to a designated area on Whitnall Field and thrown in a pile there to burn out.

Please do not throw the torches into the lake. In addition to polluting the water, such action may cause irreparable harm to wildlife. BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL WITH THE TORCHES!

Baccalaureate Service
Sunday Morning

This service for seniors and graduate students is held in Memorial Chapel at 9:30 am. A distinguished speaker is invited to deliver the Baccalaureate address. Students must appear in cap and gown at 9:00 am on the walkway in front of East and West Halls to line up for the procession (in case of rain the procession forms inside Lawrence Hall). Led by Junior Marshals, the double column procession enters the south door of the Chapel at 9:30 am. Caps are worn during the processional, but are removed just before the Invocation. After the Benediction, caps are put back on for the recessional, in which students are led out of the Chapel, two pews at a time, using both aisles. A small number of family and friends will find room to sit in the Chapel for the service. Your guests should arrive early if they hope to find a seat. We shall broadcast the service outside the Chapel to guests who may choose to be seated in the Quad or in 209 Lathrop.

Commencement Exercises
Sunday Afternoon

The Commencement exercises consist of a processional, welcomes, an address by a distinguished speaker, the awarding of honorary, master's, and bachelor's degrees, and a recessional. The exercises will be held alongside Taylor Lake if the weather is fair, mildly threatening or wet. The ceremony begins promptly at 1:30 pm and lasts for about two hours. See below for rainy day alternative.

Because you are presented your diploma in person, it is essential that you process and sit in the precise order in which your name is printed in the Commencement Program. To help you through this final test of intellectual rigor, you should appear at the cap and gown tent near the bridge over Payne Creek no later than 12:45 pm and go to one of eight stations according to the initial letter of your last name: A-B, C-D, E-G, H-K, L-M, N-R, S-T, U-Z. Candidates for the master's degree form a separate line. Please don't be late. A marshal at each station reads the individual names in that group so that you can form a single line in correct alphabetical order. You are also given a card at that time, bearing your name. The lines are then combined into two double columns and the processional begins moving at about 1:20 pm, following the faculty. You are ushered into a special section, four rows at a time. As you enter the row, please be sure to stop directly in front of a chair and leave no chairs vacant. Otherwise, the last student in the row will be without a chair. You should remain standing until the Invocation, at which time caps are removed.

In the case of heavy rain, the ceremony will be held in Sanford Field House. While there is no limit on guests if we are outside, seating indoors cannot be guaranteed for more than five guests per graduating senior or graduate student. Tickets will be distributed to seniors starting May 8th.

If the ceremony is moved indoors, students should go to Starr Ice Arena at 12:30 pm to form the processional. Caps, gowns and hoods will be available in the lobby. This will not be an ideal arrangement for anyone, SO THINK SUN!

In either case, after the awarding of the honorary degrees, the Dean of the Faculty will ask candidates for the master of arts degree to present themselves. The President will confer the degree after which recipients will be directed to the graduation platform to accept the President's congratulations and receive their diplomas.

After the master of arts degrees have been awarded, the Dean of the College will ask candidates for the bachelor of arts degrees to present themselves. The entire class will rise and, the President will confer the degree and ask the class to once again be seated. Junior Marshals will now direct the class, one row at a time, toward the platform. As you mount the platform, present the card bearing your name to the announcer standing at the top of the stairs and, as your name is read, walk across the platform, touch the edge of your cap with your right hand, (the academic salute), receive your diploma in your left hand and shake hands with the President. Finally, return to your seat, leaving none vacant, be seated and remove your cap.

Commencement Mailings
January 2007 Letter to Seniors (PDF)